Saison d'Hiver

Last September 09' I brewed an Imperial Black Saison. Spiced with Meadowsweet, Chamomile, and Nutmeg. Aged on French Oak for two months, called Saison d'Hiver. At 10% it's a big beer and has gotten better with age. One complaint I have with the first batch is head retention. I'll be making some changes to grist bill to aid in head retention. I believe the problem is in the use of spices (oils) and the high alcohol content doesn't help either. Another shortcoming is because of the high alcohol and low finishing gravity, thin body. Other tweaks to recipe are to give more body to the brew. Making it a true, Winter Warmer, of sorts.

Grist bill: Pale malt, Flaked Oats, Chocolate Malt, Black Patent malt, Biscuit Malt, Crystal Malt, and Coffee Malt. Maxing out my mash tun with twenty five total pounds of grain. Hopped lightly with Vanguard. Spiced with Meadowsweet, Chamomile, and Heather (no nutmeg in house).

Small Table Beer

With the final running's of Batch 100 I'm brewing a 3 gallon batch to create a small table beer around 3.5%. Hopped lightly with Celeia hops. Fermenting with Safale T-58, creating a Belgian style amber ale. The most famous commercial American small beer using this technique of collecting lower gravity running's for a separate beer from it's high gravity brother is Anchor Steam Brewing's Small Beer. Basically when brewing high gravity beers you use a bunch of grain to create enough sugar to reach higher gravity but don't want to collect all of possible wort otherwise you'll just have a big batch of more average gravity wort. So, by collecting the rest of the running's after you've collected what you what for the big brew you can now not waste any of the sugar you've made by brewing a small beer. Glad I decided to do this, used my original 16 qt kettle from when I started extract brewing four years ago to boil on my stove top. Good memories.

Batch 100 Barleywine

Ninety nine batches in the making. After home brewing for four years now I have brewed ninety nine batches and today's will be number 100. Brewing something special for the occasion. I've wanted to brew an English style Barleywine for some time now. Batch 100 seems like a good place to brew one (Nogne Brewery did a Batch 100 Barleywine that is delicious). I'm collecting the first gallon of first running's and boiling (reducing by half). Adding this caramelized concentrated wort to the rest of the wort before start of boil. I'll be aging this Barleywine on French Oak chips that are already soaking in Malbec wine from Argentina.

Simple grist bill of English pale malt, biscuit malt, and crystal malt. Ninety minute boil. Hopped with Super Galena, and fermented with 2nd generation English yeast.

UK Session Bitter(s)

Brewing a low alcohol offering today. Brewed an English Special Bitter last year that I was very pleased with. A flavorful ale that was 4.1%. I really enjoy full flavored low alcohol beers and I'll be tweaking the grist bill slightly from the one I made last year. I'll again be adding organic barley flour to the mash and mashing in warm (156*/157*) to add body. Brewing a 10 gallon batch today, which is possible because I'm borrowing a converted keg/kettle from the owner of my local home brew store (thanks Doug!). At the home brew store I've been teaching home brew classes, a few extract classes,an all grain class, and a recipe development class. Lots of fun teaching, I hope the students have learned something, I know they have taught me a lot.

Today's grist bill is Baird pale malt, Biscuit malt, Amber malt, Crystal malt,and a touch of Roasted Barley. A balanced, bold hand of East Kent Golding hops. Fermented with an English yeast strain, dry Safale S-04.

Saison(s) Printemps

Double brew day today. A beautiful first day of spring, I'll be moving the stereo to the back deck and brewing two Saison's with red peppercorns and sumac berries. I brewed two Saisons last year that I'm building off of, one in August 09', and another in November 09'. I was pleased with both and I'm just slightly changing the grist bill. The only 'big' change will be the addition of previously mentioned Sumac berries. My fellow brewer and master mead maker Jon Talkington said he used to pick them wild and make sumac lemonade when he was growing up. Adding the sumac berries gently crushed with out breaking seed inside and adding to end of boil along with the hand ground red peppercorns. Both of these spices I'm using are to accentuate the flavors in traditional farmhouse style Saison with out being over powering. The sumac berries have a tart lemon licorice flavor, while red peppercorns are 'lemony juniper berry' type flavor.

Grist is pale malt, wheat malt, rye malt, flaked oats, biscuit malt, aromatic malt, and honey malt. Hops are a Golding variety and will be dry hopped with Saaz and Tettnanger. Fermented with Wyeast 3711 French Saison strain.

Chicory Brown Ale

Brewing a big brown ale tonight. Target gravity 18* Plato and finish with over 8% alcohol. This is a big over the top brown ale brewed with roasted chicory root. The chicory root adds a coffee and chocolate flavor. As well as providing some bitterness from the natural oils. Chicory has long been a substitute for coffee, or today you will see pre mix blends of coffee and chicory grinds. With a complex grist bill combined with the heavy hand of chicory this is going to be a robust brown ale. Fermented with chico yeast and lightly hopped with Willamette.

American Pale Ale(s)

Beer Advocate describes the style, "Of British origin, this style is now popular worldwide and the use of local ingredients or imported, produces variances in character from region to region. Generally, expect a good balance of malt and hops. Fruity esters and diacetyl can vary from none to moderate, and bitterness can range from lightly floral to pungent. American versions tend to be cleaner and hoppier, while the British tend to be more malty, buttery, aromatic and balanced."

In my version today I'll be adding some of the extra English malt character by using both Maris Otter and American two row as my base malts. Rounding out the grist bill with some Amber, Crystal, and Wheat malt. First wort hopping with Palisade and Willamette, bittered with Warrior hops. Some whole leaf Palisade hops at thirty minutes and the only other hops added will be dry hops. Used similar hopping technique in a pale ale and Rye'd Pale ale I brewed earlier this year. For the second batch of the day I'll be brewing the same recipe with the only change being no crystal malt, substituting more amber malt for the crystal malt. I just want to see if I can notice a difference in the pale ale without the crystal malt, basically to see which I prefer overall.